The World AeroPress Championships: Smayah Uwajeneza
Next up, answering our World AeroPress Championship competitor questions, is Smayah Uwajeneza, the Kenyan AeroPress Champion. Smayah is from Rwanda and works with Question Coffee, a social enterprise that helps unlock womens' potential in the growing and making of specialty coffee. As well as being a senior barista, roaster, SCA lead scholar, and much more in the coffee world, she is also studying law. You can follow her journey on Instagram: @wise_smayah
Why did you choose to enter the AeroPress championship?
It is my favourite method of brewing, but also it enables me to get to know how capable I am at the cupping process. It also allows me to connect with coffee professionals world wide and thus present my community. It enables me to have a remarkable fast and fun moment, and it allows me to share with the world an amazing cup of coffee with a round, tasty, clear, complex flavour which gets sweeter as it cools.
What's your favourite way to make coffee (other than AeroPress)?
I love most methods of brewing but I love espresso the most. Of course, the reason might be because espresso is so great, quick, and strong and helps me function and make people happy everyday.
What led you to using the AeroPress?
After a year in the specialty coffee industry, AeroPress was the first brewer I ever owned, as it is affordable and durable, and most importantly makes a great quick cup of coffee.
Which grinder will you use for the competition and why?
I will use any grinder that will be provided by there, so long as it can grind my coffee fine to be able to press the best brew ever.
How did you get into the coffee industry?
When I finished my high school education, I knew that nobody was going to support my college tuition but myself. I started looking for a job from my final day of high school. Fortunately, I found an opportunity to attend a training at Question Coffee, a social enterprise that unlocks womens’ potential to learn how to prepare specialty coffee. It was at this time that I was introduced to coffee as a career. For me, it was challenge even drinking coffee for the first time. The first espresso sip will never leave my memory. Regardless, I needed to save money for college so I had no choice but to transform this challenge into opportunity.
Luckily, the need to save money for college turned into the love and passion I have for my job. The next challenge came as I needed to sustain many working hours to save enough to support me through the future I was working to create. It was after two years of working full time at Question Coffee that I joined law school. My new challenge is to balance my work and school, while continuing to save for future education. Until today, I have never stopped working hard to achieve more, and now coffee is my way of creating the life I want for myself.
What are you most excited about in coffee?
I am so excited to make that cup of coffee that can a leave a mark and make a positive impact on someone's life. I am so excited about taking an inspirational action, encouraging people - especially baristas - to dream more, do more, and become more through coffee. And, finally, I am so excited about competing in the World AeroPress Championship and share with the world the remarkable experience that I am going to have.